Brockhill Country Park was named the Country Park of the Year for the sixth consecutive year and other gold awards went to Lullingstone, Shorne Woods and Trosley, with Pegwell Bay being awarded Silver Gilt.
The South & South East In Bloom awards are the largest horticultural campaign in the region, involving hundreds of communities each year.
Kent Country Parks, part of KCC, provide some of the best natural habitats and landscapes in Kent and offer visitors excellent leisure and educational resources.
Brockhill’s lake, woods, meadows, picnic and play areas – along with the excellent cafe – make it a great spot for a family day out. The park is also rich in wildlife, including marbled white butterflies, green woodpeckers and carpets of snowdrops.
Shorne Woods was recognised for its work towards making the park more accessible to visitors.
The judges’ comments included: “The park’s commitment to access for a wide variety of visitors is demonstrated in a number of different ways. The park has many different pathways and trails which are in good order for different activities, accessibilities and abilities.
“There is a well-used scheme to hire a ‘Tramper’ mobility scooter, further giving access to the park to a greater number of different people. There are accessible toilets and as a bonus a ‘Changing Place Toilet’…This facility can accommodate visitors with the most specialist needs in an inclusive and welcoming way. It was pleasing to hear that the park attracts people to visit who would not feel comfortable somewhere without such a facility.”
The judges recognised the many features to discover at Trosley including the woodland orchestra. “An unexpected feature is ‘The Orchestra’ an area situated in a hollow with a number of outdoor percussion instruments. All were usable, in good condition and available to whomever discovers them. A fantastic feature that really brings a sense of fun to the park.”
They also highlighted the fantastic educational opportunities for schools at the park “There is a woodland activity/education space with a fire pit and rain shelter to accommodate woodland activities…The site has access to an education ranger, making use of the park’s facilities such as the education space”.
The judges complimented the work of the team at Lullingstone. “The Kent County Council West Kent Team managed by Tim Bell are a dedicated passionate and committed team maintaining the park to a very high standard. All are very keen to further improve the park and focused on generating income to offset running costs.
“There are planned events through the year; noted events for August included summer trails, guided bat and moth trapping and teddy bear parties. The Country Park also caters for school and community groups on educational visits including pond dipping and team-building days.”
“We are exceptionally proud of our award-winning Country Parks here in Kent.”
Clair Bell, KCC’s Cabinet member for Community and Regulatory Services, said: “We are exceptionally proud of our award-winning Country Parks here in Kent. They offer Kent residents and visitors valuable green spaces to enjoy, while protecting the environment. In addition, they offer valuable educational opportunities for children with regular events across the parks and opportunities for school trips and outdoor learning sessions.”
Note to editors
About Kent Country Parks
Kent Country Parks offers 9 stunning Kent Country Parks, each with its own unique character. The parks offer wonderful walks throughout the beautiful countryside and a varied events programme throughout the year offering visitors the chance to try den building, guided walks, pond dipping and animal handling to name but a few.
Kent Country Parks also offer expertise in Outdoor Learning and Education, a great place for schools to visit, and an extensive Forest School training and qualifications programme for Educators.
Brockhill, Shorne Woods, Lullingstone and Trosley all offer venue hire, ideal for meetings and events, in tranquil surroundings and the opportunity to engage with colleagues in team building days.
To find out more visit: https://www.kent.gov.uk/countryparks
About the South and South East In Bloom Awards
South & South East in Bloom is part of Britain in Bloom and runs annual competitions across the counties of Kent, Surrey, East & West Sussex, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, East & North Dorset and East Wiltshire. Judges/ assessors visit communities and awards are presented to recognise the entries achievements. https://www.sseib.com/